Preventing Colon Cancer

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "We see so many individuals who die unnecessarily because of colon cancer," says Dr. Monnie Singleton, South Carolina Medical Endoscopy Center.

It's those deaths Dr. Monnie Singleton wants to stop with one test, a colonoscopy.

According to the South Carolina Medical Endoscopy Center, colon cancer is the number one killer among non-smokers.

Singleton says African Americans are at a higher risk.

"We find it be higher, twice the rate that we find in caucassians," says Dr. Singleton

But the odds aren't totally against anyone.

"If you get the colonoscopy in time and we see that there are polyps, they can be removed before the polyps become cancerous." says Dr. Singleton.

With a chance like that, you would think more people would have a Colonoscopy, right?

According to Dr. Singleton, only about half of people who should have a Colonoscopy actually do.

"A lot of people are just squimish about the test,"says Dr. Singleton

The guidelines for having the test are: Anyone age 50 and above should be tested. If you ahve a history of Colon Cancer in your family, you should be tested 5 years before the age of your relative, when they were diagnosed.

"It takes about 10 years to 15 years for the polyp to start to grow and to turn into cancer. So if within that 15 year time span, if we do the test and find the polyp, that is the screening, treatment and the cure for colon cancer," says Dr. Singleton.

Dr. Singleton also says that stories passed down from previous years of having to drink a gallon of fluid before the test have also turned people away.

However, that has since been reduced to 2, 8-ounce bottles of fluid. Also, patients are now put completely to sleep, making for a painless procedure.

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